14 September 2015
The inter-agency probe being organized by the justice department must also include cases of lumad killings committed in other parts of Mindanao, the labor group Partido Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.
The group issued the call in reaction to the announcement made by Malacanang yesterday that it is willing to conduct an investigation as demanded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and many other organizations here and abroad.
“The killings of Lumad leaders by alleged paramilitary forces in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, including recorded cases of lumad killings in other parts of Mindanao, should give the government the idea that these killings were rather systematic than isolated in nature as claimed by the military,” said PM Chairperson Renato Magtubo.
According to PM, aside from the horrendous killings and forced evacuations of lumad populations in Lianga, there were similar cases of extra-judicial killings against lumads in other parts of Mindanao, particularly against leaders of the Tedurays in South Central Mindanao.
Some of these cases include the killings in 2014 of Timuay Leoncio Arig and Melencio Ramugon.
Before their deaths, Arig and Ramugon were involved in campaigns to include IPs interests in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and unite the members of the tribes to protect their territory against intrusion, including mining.
Furthermore, the labor group observes a pattern of reluctance on the part of the police and military to pursue the perpetrators despite available witnesses, indicating a double standard in dealing with heinous crimes and in effecting justice.
“What the killers have done to lumad leaders, including the brutal murder of the director of an IP school in Lianga, were clearly terroristic in nature. But why can’t the PNP and the AFP organize a special manhunt against perpetrators in the way they did against international terrorist Marwan,” lamented Magtubo.
Partido Manggagawa likewise supports the call for the disbandment of all paramilitary units organized by the military for anti-insurgency campaigns, saying that historically, these groups are mobilized to counter legitimate resistance such as anti-mining protests.